Newsletter header image
Wisconsin Conference Life Newsletter
March 27, 2020 
Tisha Brown image Help, I Don't Know...

I am holding you all in my prayers as we separately together navigate these strange times. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing or not doing, let us remind ourselves that we are not alone. God's people have been in times like these before and we will be in these places again.
 
Lately, I have been finding particular comfort in Father Richard Rohr's daily meditations. The meditation today was from Brian McLaren. His meditation centered around prayer during times of anxiety. Through his own anxious times, he has developed a prayer that consists of one simple word - "help."
 
In times like these, we meet the end of our human capacity to control our environment. We lose a sense of security, which is false all the time but that gets revealed in full force at times like this. In the midst of our loss of control, our fear for the future, our uncertainty about what comes next, we turn to God with our desperate plea - "HELP!!" And then we wait and we listen.
 
This morning I put the word "help" on an index card and taped it to my desk as a reminder that when I'm at a loss for where to turn next, I can always turn to God.
 
A second meditation I received as a gift from my dad yesterday is similar. My dad and I were talking about where this will end, what will come next? He shared a practice he encountered recently - to answer every question we are asking with "I don't know..." and then to just sit in the unknowing. So, my friends, guess what else is taped to my desk now? That's right, a card with the words "I don't know..." written on it.
 
These are my prayers during this time and I offer them to you. If you find them helpful, may they be a blessing to you. If you do not find these helpful, I pray you are finding ways of navigating this time spiritually and emotionally that are helping you to calm your fears and breathe through your anxiety.
 
Help!!! I don't know...
 
Blessings to you all,
 
Tisha
Conference Website Offers Resources for Churches Navigating Social Distancing

The conference has been gathering resources on our website to help church leaders and congregations adapt to our current social distancing situation. We express a heartfelt thank you to all of the people who are sending us resources to share with the entire conference! 
 
The photo on the right shows all of the categories of resources and information currently provided on our website. Go to www.wcucc.org/coronavirus to begin exploring what's available. And keep coming back because new resources are added every day.
 
Here are some examples of what's available:
If you have resources you're willing to share, please email to resourcecenter@wcucc.org or to any conference staff person. We are in this together!
Emergency Response Fund Created

The Wisconsin Conference created the Emergency Response Fund to pool resources as congregations deal with critical needs.  This fund will provide help as congregations deal with critical needs caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. All funds will be awarded to organizations experiencing financial hardship and those meeting crucial needs in their community.
 
In this season, when we can't physically go to church, we can BE church for one another. Not physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and generously. Congregations will also be on the very front lines of helping people deal with the stresses and dislocations caused by the pandemic. We can help each other through this time.
 
Please consider making a gift to the Wisconsin Conference's Emergency Response Fund, and know that a gift in any amount will make a difference for those impacted by this pandemic.
Or set up monthly giving via electronic funds transfer (EFT). Download the request form here
Families First Act: Response to Covid-19 --Webcast
March 31, 2020 at 1:00pm Central time

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act goes into effect on April 1, 2020. It covers employers with fewer than 500 employees, and may cover some churches that are not ordinarily covered under federal employment laws. Join the Insurance Board for this free webcast featuring Heather E. Kimmel, General Counsel for the United Church of Christ. Register HERE to receive a confirmation email with information for viewing, and reminder emails.  
Webinar: Support to Address Challenges of Pandemic on Church Finances
Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
 
In times of uncertainty, it is natural to worry about church finance. Pastors and lay leaders are invited to join Bob Olsen of the Minnesota Conference and Andrew Warner of the Wisconsin Conference for a discussion of stewardship in challenging times.  Bob and Andrew will provide resources, ideas, and engage participants in conversation. Bob and Andrew serve as Director of Development for their respective conferences.  
 
You can join the webinar via Zoom on your computer or by phone. The webinar is free, but registration is required so we can provide the link to join the meeting. After you register you will get a confirmation email with the Zoom online link and the phone number for joining this session.  Please save this information for April 7.
 
Questions? Contact Andrew Warner at awarner@wcucc.org.
A Worship Service order for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day 

The Wisconsin Conference Creation Care Team has created a service order with a sermon by Rev. John Helt to honor the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. You are invited to use these resources on the Sunday prior to the 50th Anniversary of Earth day (April 19), or any other day throughout the year when your congregation celebrates the wonder of creation
Catalyst Grant Supports Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community
By Elizabeth Janvrin, La Crosse First Congregational Church, UCC, Ministry of Missions and Social Justice
 
How does a predominately white congregation work for racial justice? That question is what started First Congregational Church (FCC) in La Crosse on their recent social justice journey. The church has undertaken a multi-year effort in the congregation and with the community, one which continues still.
 
According to a project member, "The catalyst grant helped the community beyond our church walls to recognize that many FCC members are co-conspirators in the 'commitment to rebinding our community, not by ignoring the realities of race, but by facing it together, honestly.'"
 
As a result of FCC's integral work on Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community the congregation has realized several significant accomplishments. Read the full story to gain insights into how this initiative was undertaken, why it has been successful and what has been accomplished for the congregation and community.
The Mass Poor People's Campaign: 
A National Call for Moral Revival

Join us to unite people across Wisconsin and the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation, and the nation's distorted morality of religious nationalism by marching on Washington, DC, on June 20, 2020.
 
According to organizer Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, "America, you've got a chance right now to be great. You have a chance right now to do what you should have done 40 years ago: Make sure everybody has health care and living wages and affordable housing. Not just for this emergency, but for a new society to emerge."    
 
Also, on June 20th, the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation's history will join the march.
 
Please put June 20, 2020, on your calendar for attending or being digitally present at the Mass Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. For information contact Rev. Steve Davis.
Damascus Project Update

Due to the uncertainty of this time, we have made the decision to postpone our spring courses until the fall. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and look forward to reconnecting in the fall. More details will be forthcoming. Watch this newsletter and our  website.
 
In the meantime, we will be developing free content to help leaders reflect on how the pandemic is impacting their ministries and spiritual identities.  
 
May God's peace be with you during this challenging time and may you find a place of rest and renewal in the midst of the uncertainty.
 
Blessings,  Tisha & Abby
Free Pews
 
Lake Edge UCC in Madison will be removing pews mid-June and are offering them to anyone who would like them. 

Contact Lake Edge UCC if you are interested.
Conference Transitions

Searching Churches
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Wider Church Searches
  • The Evangelical & Reformed Historical Society is searching for an executive director. Details
In Memoriam
  • Rev. Donald B. King passed away on March 10, 2020. Obituary
  • Alan Joseph Kromholz passed away on March 19, 2020. Obituary
  • Wallace (Wally) Robeson passed away on March 21, 2020.  Obituary

The Conference Transitions feature appears monthly in the Wisconsin Conference Life. Please share your transition information, including church anniversaries, with the newsletter editor by emailing Nola.
This newsletter is made possible by contributions to Our Church's Wider Mission Basic Support.

The Wisconsin Conference UCC is an Open and Affirming Conference, and an Immigrant Welcoming Conference.

Wisconsin Conference United Church of Christ
4459 Gray Road | DeForest, WI  53532

In This Issue
Covid-19 Emergency Fund
Families first Act: Response to Covid-19
Church Finances during Pandemic Webinar
Earth Day service order
Catalyst Grant success story
Mass Poor People's Campaign
Damascus Project Update
Free pews
Conference Transitions
 
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